Prolific author, pastor and creationism advocate Rockie Sue Fordham, along with co-authors Mary Elizabeth Nathan and Caleb Luke Fordham, incorporates biblical principles into an adventure novel about the war on terror in Treachery and the Innocent.
The book’s main protagonist is Shema, a young Iraqi student studying in Washington, D.C. to be a nurse. Unfortunately, her cousin Ishmael has come under the influence of their uncle (and his namesake), Colonel Ishmael Pahlavi, a noted terrorist. To pay back the U.S. for imprisoning his brother, the younger Ishmael swears revenge against the operator who led the raid that captured him, Lieutenant Vance Coolie. He then convinces Shema to help him kidnap the officer, but Coolie is quickly freed by his friend, retired CIA agent David Finley.
This opening gambit is fairly clear, but eventually the plot dissolves into a confusing muddle. Shema’s uncle threatens her into helping with another scheme to scapegoat Coolie and Finley in an investigation into a crooked U.S. colonel who has been co-conspiring with the terrorist to target undercover agents. Shema changes names and winds up in Denver, where she immediately gets involved with Finley’s family. Overcome by guilt, she eventually confesses her sins and converts, on a dime, from Islam to fundamentalist Christianity.
There are numerous subplots, and the author adds to the confusion by including angels and demons who continually whisper to their charges or fight ferocious battles for their souls. Other problems include writing that’s almost entirely in the passive voice, bland heros, implausible plot twists, and a jingoistic depiction of the Iraqi bad guys. At one point in his investigation, Finley comments, “Don’t apologize for profiling. That’s what a good detective does. When was the last time you heard of a little old lady from Kansas blowing up an airplane?”
Overall, the story is an awkwardly executed combination of two genres—military thriller and Christian parable based on angelic lore. As such, it will likely lack widespread appeal.